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Cockerill coy on England captaincy ahead of Autumn Nations Series

Cockerill coy on England captaincy ahead of Autumn Nations Series

Cockerill coy on England captaincy ahead of Autumn Nations Series

Autumn Nation Series Rugby Twickenham 13/11/2021 England vs Australia England's assistant coach Richard Cockerill Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

England forwards coach Richard Cockerill remained tight-lipped on the issue of captaincy with both Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes injury doubts for the Autumn Nations Series.

Fly-half Farrell sustained a head injury while playing for Saracens against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, while Lawes, who skippered England on their tour of Australia in the summer, has not featured since 24 September when he picked up a knock while playing for Northampton Saints.

Tom Curry, who has captained England previously, and Ellis Genge are among the favourites to lead England out for their first autumn fixture against Argentina on 6 November but coach Cockerill refused to comment on whether Eddie Jones and his coaching staff have come to a decision.

“We have got lots of good leaders in the squad. Eddie will have an idea of who he wants to take as captain into the autumn,” said Cockerill.

“So there’s a lot to go through yet. Nobody is ruled out of the captaincy equation but we have got guys that have captained their clubs and we’ve got guys leading behind the scenes in their own way.

“So we have got lots of options that gives opportunities to somebody else to potentially step up if needed, but we’re just worrying about preparing really and how we’re going to play and preparing the team as well as we can.”

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After scrum-half Ben Youngs, Farrell and Lawes are England’s two most experienced players and both were set to celebrate 100 caps for their country this autumn, prior to their injuries.

Projected Starter Series: England

Speaking from Jersey where England have been enjoying a pre-Autumn Nations Series training camp, Cockerill confirmed that Jones and co will be patient with two of their biggest stars.

“They’re still going through the normal protocols,” added Cockerill.

“They’re just going through their normal process and if they are right, they will come into the squad; if they’re not, we’ll make sure that we do everything we can to make sure they are fully recovered before they come back in.”

Jones’ squad has been ravaged by injury in recent weeks which means that new names may have the chance to shine.

Hookers Jack Singleton and George McGuigan boast just three caps between them but with Jamie George sidelined and Luke Cowan-Dickie facing a late fight to make the first Test at Twickenham, either one could be called upon to start.

But Cockerill is confident that the young pair will make the step up if required.

“I’ve been very impressed with both of them, both play for packs that are very good at the set piece, both scrum and lineout,” said Cockerill.

“So they fit that mould for us very, very well. Obviously, they have been in and around the squad previously and they are working very hard to take the opportunity if it comes.

“So we have obviously got some quality hookers in and around the England squad.

“Obviously there is some injury concerns with guys that have been the favoured ones previously.

“But as you can imagine they’re working very hard and if the opportunity arises they’re ready to take it.”

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